2 July '10
2:52 PM UTC
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The Week In Green Energy: Government As A Long-Term Investor

With the clock ticking on key stimulus-funded renewable energy programs, green capitalists are concerned. They are pressing Congress and the Obama administration to extend these funding programs, including the very popular 1603 direct cash grants.

Cleantech investors and developers want more than one-time handouts and are asking for long-term government funding.  At stake, they say is the U.S.’s ability to lead the global green economy.

This unabashed call for government money was one of the dominant themes of the (REFF), which recently ended in New York (see here or here for our coverage).  At a time when governments in industrialized economies are curtailing spending — or if they aren’t, are being pressed to do so — this call for more government intervention may seem unlikely to get much response. However, Wall Street’s green capitalist argue that governments have always supported strategic industries — like the oil and gas industry or agriculture – and they say renewable energy is one such industry. As is private capital alone can’t invest the large amounts required for clean energy to start making a serious dent on key emission targets, they add.
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30 June '10
4:21 PM UTC
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REFF: Green Wall Street Says Now Is Not The Time To Cut Government Spending

U.S. Energy Department's Matt Rogers

Since his appointment as a senior adviser at the Department of Energy in charge of disbursing the Obama administration’s stimulus funds, Matt Rogers has been making the rounds of cleantech conferences, updating the industry about his green spending spree.

At the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York, Rogers told attendees that the distribution of federal stimulus funds is nearing cruising speed. The DOE is expected to spend about $800 million a month to support cleantech over the next 18 months. Of the $36.7 billion allocated to the DOE to support the cleantech industries, Rogers said that a little more than $29 billion has been allocated to green companies. The DOE  has also made $28 billion in loan commitments over the past 18 months. The DOE money moved across different conduits like the 1603 direct cash grants and the ARPA-E program, which invests in cutting edge energy technologies.

The healthy level of investment is good news for the many project developers attending REFF. But Rogers didn’t address a pressing question on the minds of  many attendees: What happens when the stimulus programs end? Read More »

29 June '10
3:14 PM UTC
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REFF: A Conversation With Mindy Lubber of Ceres

Lubber: Not optimistic about climate legislation

Mindy Lubber is the President of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental organizations that work to build sustainability into the capital markets and address climate change. Lubber, a former regional administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, whose members represent $10 trillion in assets, that coordinates investor response to risks and opportunities of climate change. G.E.R. caught up with her in New York on Tuesday at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum, where she spoke on a panel about factors that are affecting renewable energy.

Green Energy Reporter: Why are you here today instead of in Washington lobbying for the climate bill?

Mindy Lubber: Policy makers don’t want to hear from another environmentalist, they want to hear from the business community. Those are the people who are moving the debate. Any reservation on passing climate legislation is because people are afraid it’s bad for the economy.

G.E.R.: Why is the debate about climate change and the need for legislative action settled in Europe and not here? Read More »

29 June '10
10:43 AM UTC
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REFF Keynote: Subsidization of Energy Sources “Not Sustainable”

AEP's Morris: Green energy is a business

Michael Morris, the chief executive officer of Ohio-based American Electric Power, makes no bones about it: green energy is a business proposition that has the added benefit of stopping climate change.

Morris, a supporter of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed through congress last year, said he backed the measure because it saves his customers $2.2 billion per year.

But in the opening keynote address at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York today, Morris outlined the “immense” challenges faced by the business of green. Read More »